Tax Credits (Income Thresholds and Determination of Rates) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 — Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 26th October 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Leader of the House of Lords 6:30 pm, 26th October 2015

My Lords, the point made by my noble friend is that this is a choice for the Government, not a necessity. What we have seen in the last week has enlightened all of us on the Government’s reluctance to accept challenge or proper scrutiny. There is no constitutional crisis looming at all. The Prime Minister has provoked a rather phoney constitutional crisis in this House rather than dealing with the very serious problems with his and the Chancellor’s tax credit policy. In the last Labour Government, we lost many dozens of votes here in the House of Lords on a range of issues, including one on 42 days’ detention, and one on the entire Second Reading of a Bill. Of course we did not like it, but we accepted it and moved on. At no point in this Session of Parliament have this Official Opposition not accepted the right of the Government to get their legislation through, but they have to do so properly, and they do not have a monopoly on getting things right all the time. In this case, we really believe that the Government have it wrong.

The threats that have been made to the House of Lords as an institution have been nothing less than parliamentary bullying.